New LSE report demonstrates the tidal stream opportunity for the UK

A new report published today by the London School of Economics’ Grantham Institute has revealed tidal stream will deliver sustainable economic growth, enhance net zero efforts, improve energy security and generate jobs across the UK.

The UK is currently a global leader in tidal stream energy development and deployment. The decision to set a ringfence in consecutive renewable auctions is improving investor confidence and providing a clear route to market for the technology. This is critical as today’s report notes “countries like Canada, China, France, Japan and the US are increasingly considering tidal stream as a potentially important supply of domestic low-carbon energy.”

Professor Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, provided the foreword for the report, arguing that it adds to the growing evidence base concluding that tidal stream energy presents a clear sustainable growth opportunity for the UK. He warned that while the Contracts for Difference mechanism has been successful, the UK has missed supply chain opportunities and tidal stream provides an opportunity to link domestic deployment ambitions with support for a strong domestic supply chain right from the start.

Importantly for the Government’s aim to deliver green growth across the UK, the report finds that:

“Investments in tidal stream energy innovation yield higher estimated economic returns for the UK relative to other clean technology areas. Moreover, returns to investments made in innovation-intensive regions have high spillovers to the rest of the country, so that the economic benefits reach other UK regions too. In this way, investments in tidal stream energy can contribute to regionally balanced growth.”

The report includes a list of recommendation for policymakers including:

·         An explicit statement of ambition in tidal stream energy to drive private sector investment.

·         Continued ringfence support for the technology with multiyear CfD budgets.  

·         Maximise growth opportunities by coordinating policy across deployment and supply chain development.

·         A holistic strategy for the offshore economy that includes tidal stream alongside CCUS and offshore wind.

The UK Marine Energy Council (MEC) welcomed the reports findings.

“This is a fantastic and instructive report for policymakers focussed on delivering net zero. Tidal stream can have a key role in realising that target, whilst delivering green growth and opportunities for coastal communities and beyond.

The UK is a global leader in tidal stream energy and has over 11GW of accessible capacity. With over 90% of the world's economy now covered by net zero targets, the demand for predictable renewable power will continue to grow. The UK Government must act to maintain its leadership and support British companies exporting innovative tidal stream technology around the world.”

Richard Arnold, Policy Director, MEC.

The full report is available online here.

© UK Marine Energy Council (UKMEC)

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